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Cataracts: Should You Have Surgery On Your Second Eye?

December 9, 2014

Cataracts are a very common condition that arises during the aging process. As you get older, the lens inside of the eye changes and gradually becomes less transparent, making it more difficult to see clearly out of that eye.  During a cataracts formation, it will cloud the eye’s lens, ultimately blocking or changing the passage of light into the eyes.  In the end, cataracts can be extremely harmful to the eye and in fact, cataracts have been reported by the Prevent Blindness organization as being the leading cause in blindness worldwide, affecting more than 24 million Americans.  While cataracts are typically caused by aging, other factors such as diabetes, trauma to the eye, overexposure to UV rays or other eye surgeries may contribute to the formation of cataracts. The only effective treatment, unfortunately, is surgery to replace the blurred lens with a new, artificial one. Since surgery is the only viable option, and that always comes with inherent risks, many people choose to wait to have the surgery until the cataracts start to cause them difficulties in their everyday lives.  This however, is not the choice that we advise most of our patients to go with.  In fact, its best to treat cataracts earlier rather than later, and if you are having trouble in one eye be sure to get your second eye checked immediately.

What are the benefits of cataract surgery on the first eye?

If your vision and daily activities are being severely impacted by a cataract in one eye, then having surgery performed on that eye can be extremely beneficial to regaining your quality of life. Depending on your normal activities, you and your doctor can discuss which is the most suitable type of lens for you. Those who spend a lot of time reading, on the computer or doing activities close by such as knitting, may be recommended a lens that works best for near vision. Others, who drive often or play a sport for example, may be better suited with a lens that improves distance vision. If you’re not limited to either of these types of activities, a third type of lens exists that is multifocal and can adjust for near and far vision needs.

After cataract surgery on the first eye, the most obvious benefit is an improved quality of vision, turning back the clock and greatly improving your eyesight. Other benefits include more independence by allowing you to retain a drivers license, a reduction in falls by 78%, a longer life expectancy and possibly a reduced risk of dementia symptoms.

What are the benefits of cataract surgery on the second eye?

While the topic has been hotly contested in the eye care industry for years, recent studies have shown that surgery on the second eye can provide just as much benefit as the surgery on the first eye. It can be difficult to measure exactly how much the second surgery adds to the already drastically improved vision and quality of life obtained through the first operation. Research, however, shows that factors such as visual acuity, ocular dominance and overall field of vision are greatly improved after the second eye surgery, when compared with the results after the first. This is the reason most of our cataract patients here at OCLI have their second eye operated on within weeks of the first cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery is the most common type of surgery performed in the United States. Cataract surgery complications do not tend to be very serious, ranging from swelling to inflammation to glare. Less common complications include retinal detachment and glaucoma, but these occurs in less than 0.1% of the total operations.

We also have many topics on cataracts available for research on our blog.  Maybe you want to know about the three types of cataracts diagnosed or the other distinct ailments from cataracts that tend to affect the bodies of seniors?  Or are you a curious gamer wondering about the magical curing ability of video games when combatting cataracts?  We also have information on the condition of cataracts after having LASIK surgery done so take a look around!  Plus, it is always important to stay informed so be sure to check out the common myths that surround cataracts and cataract surgery.

If you are interested in learning more about cataract surgery or specifically about surgery on the second eye, make an appointment with Dr. Cary Silverman and OCLI today.  It’s so important to stay informed, and we want the best for all of our patients so please be sure to check around our website for more info on something bothering your eyesight.  You can also request a cataract evaluation from our website.  We look forward to hearing from you!

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